Live Review: Delain, Evergrey, Kobra And The Lotus @ The Engine Rooms, Southampton UK 16.11.2016

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Queues going round the street, a full venue and a busy merchandise stall where punters parted with their hard earnt cash reinforces the statement that this was a night not to be missed. The event in question was a tour featuring Dutch Symphonic Metal troupe DELAIN, Gothenburg Dark Melodic outfit EVERGREY and Canadian no nonsense Heavy Metal group KOBRA AND THE LOTUS. This tour has been mentally saved in every metalheads mind and if every night was like their show in Southampton last night it was very easy to see why.

The stage area was very full for opening act KOBRA AND THE LOTUS; the past few years has seen their popularity and presence rise increasingly. The prevailing vocals, infectious energy and blistering guitar work were only a few factors to what made their set incredible to watch and experience. Another that was highly noticeable was the killer confidence coming from this Canadian troupe, they weren’t taking any prisoners at their show. Admiration from their fans was reinforced from the number of fans queuing to get things signed and taking selfies with the band. A grand choice to open the night.

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About two or three years ago, Swedish Dark Melodic Metal force EVERGREY were thinking of throwing in the towel all together. They didn’t think they would release another album let alone two. They showed Southampton that they aren’t going anywhere; everything about their set was simply majestic, from their impeccable lighting to remarkable renditions of their material. Fans were particularly excited to see the original line up from when they started twenty years ago. They performed new anthems such as ‘Passing Through’ and ‘In Orbit’ to classics such as ‘Broken Wings’ and ‘A Touch Of Blessing’. Their closer ‘King Of Errors’ was a poignant moment of their set, this was the song that marked their comeback and showed fans they are stronger than ever before.

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Over the past few years DELAIN have increasingly been gaining popularity and recognition within the UK ever since they opened up for WITHIN TEMPTATION at Wembley Arena in 2012. Their live shows often contain synchronised head banging, a brilliant selection of material from across their discography and infectious energy that passes onto the audience. Southampton’s show was no exception. Opening up with ‘The Hands Of Gold’ and ‘Suckerpunch’ were incredible belters, these were great to get the crowds warm. Their setlist included an eclectic selection from across their discography; from new album material such as ‘The Glory and the Scum’, ‘The Hurricane’ and ‘Fire With Fire’ to classics such as ‘April Rain’, ‘The Gathering’ and ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’ there was something to please new listeners and die hard fans. Their clear, tight sound went down very well with audiences.

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Overall, a majestic show that gave audiences a huge taste of the best talent in Modern Metal today, if they were to tour again together it’s recommended you go.

*Words by Lotty Whittingham

*Photography by Rikki Wolf

For full galleries click on the links below:

Delain, Evergrey, Kobra And The Lotus

Live Report: Soil @ The Engine Rooms, Southampton UK 07.11.2016

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Southampton’s The Engine Rooms plays host to many great events; roller discos, themed nights you name it. Most of the rock and metal community also know that it’s showcases some of the best bands within this genre. Monday night, American Alternative Rockers SOIL, Southern Rockers SONS OF TEXAS, West Midlands Hard Rockers LIBERTY LIES and local troupe LONELY DAKOTA took to this glorious stage like ducks to water. It’s nights like this that show us it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, punters are always keen to support their idols and the scene itself.

LONELY DAKOTA kicked of the proceedings for this evening of Rock. They are based in Southampton, UK and they proved to get the wheels moving very smoothly. Their energetic stage presence showcasing their clear vocals, great guitar work and powerful drums only proves that they were a fine choice to open up the night.

West Midlands Alternative Rock outfit LIBERTY LIES got off to an interesting start, it included an opening track consisting of what one could describe as chipmunks giggling. Don’t be fooled. It is the thing that entices the audience to find out what this band is about. Their set consisting of clear crisp vocals, excellent guitar riffs and their crowd interaction was amazing. The crowds were rightly taken within their stage presence and brilliant music.

For Texas troupe SON OF TEXAS it was their first time touring the UK and they were filling in as main support after SALIVA pulled out due to illness, so the pressure was on. After Monday night’s performance it is more than safe to say they will be welcomed back with open arms. They gave Southampton a treat; their eclectic selection of melodies contained a raw, rough sound that evidently went down well with the punters that very night. Think of CLUTCH, BLACK STONE CHERRY and REV THEORY jamming together, that’s the sound you hear from this Southern Rock outfit. Any band that has a guitarist that can perform with a blindfold on deserves that utmost respect; the perfect choice as main support for SOIL.

SOIL are one of those bands that doesn’t need an introduction; they are often on the touring scene wowing audiences with their straight up, no nonsense rock sound. Southampton’s show was no exception. Their solid performance and front man Ryan McCombs’ interaction with crowds was incredibly amazing to watch. They performed an amazing selection of material from across their discography; from their newer anthems such as ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Shine On’ and ‘Amalgamation’ to fan favourites from the beginning such as opener ‘Wide Open’, ‘Redefine’ and ‘Give It Up’ there was something for everyone that evening. They are a definition of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; as most of you know frontman McCombs suffered a stroke two years ago and SOIL’s performance Monday night was just top notch.

A great night of Alternative Rock from all the bands; they all showcased great crowd interaction, infectious energy and a firm, solid sound throughout.

Live Report: Sabaton, Alestorm, Bloodbound @ 02 Guildhall, Southampton 29.02.2016

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This is a tour that doesn’t need an introduction; in fact it was evident this event was in every metal head’s diary, calendar, smartphone or however they keep track of dates nowadays. The infamous tour in question consists of two of Metal’s greatest titans; they are Swedish Power Metal legends SABATON and Scottish Pirate Icons ALESTORM. They were joined by the powerful BLOODBOUND so the line-up alone showed a solid package, but would it deliver? Here is what Southampton’s show had to offer.

02 Guildhall in Southampton is inarguably the city’s biggest venue, many Rock and Metal giants have played the stage. Icons such as LAMB OF GOD, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, MÖTORHEAD and ALICE COOPER have played this stage and now it was the turn of these metal giants. As the venue filled up with punters it was, as predicted, a mesh of camouflage trousers and pirate gear; the co-headliners trademark uniform.

First to take to the stage were Swedish born BLOODBOUND and this was a set of power. Generally as an opening act to two Metal titans the pressure is higher than ever to win the crowd over; BLOODBOUND did incredibly well to secure some fans within their crowd that evening. With songs on their setlist including “In The Name Of Metal”, “Stormborn” and “Metalheads Unite” was enough to gain headbangers, fist pumping and cheers all round. There was even a moment during “Metalheads Unite” where two Metal brothers joined together in harmony along to the song. Beautiful moments like that make people proud to be a part of this community. With the positive reception from the crowd, fans queuing up to get merchandise signed and to have photos with them; it is incredibly safe to say they are more than welcome back to play Southampton again. The perfect choice to open up this evening of iconic metal.

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The venue was filling up ready for the Metal pirates to take to the stage; the past few times ALESTORM have played in Southampton their concert venue has only seemed increase in size. 2012 saw them at The Cellar (formerly The Soul Cellar), 2014 saw them play The 1865 and 2016 now sees them at Southampton’s biggest music venue.  It was confusing to see rubber ducks on the stage as part of their set but it seemed to delight the fans regardless; ALESTORM did always have a sense of humour. Their set provided booze, party, metal and a lot of fun; their setlist contained a great selection across their discography from the newer material such as “Magnetic North” and new anthem “Drink” to classics that never get old such as the metal sing along “Nancy The Tavern Wench” and “Keehauled” the setlist pleased fans all over the venue. They are usually a favourite live band to see amongst the metal community and this entertaining set provided clear evidence as to why that was. Those who have yet to see them, be prepared for melodies of theirs swimming around in your mind for days on end. That can be called the ALESTORM effect.

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There are no introductions needed for a band like SABATON, whether you love them or hate them they have made a big impact on the Metal scene for over a decade. It was obvious from the moment the lights went down, who was in control of that crowd that evening. This was reinforced further when their intro music, consisting of Rock anthem “The Final Countdown” and their own instrumental “The March To War” were heard on the system. There performance contained a lot of things that pleased the crowd greatly; boundless energy, a strong sound, a sense of community, a killer setlist and of course the drum tank.

A particular highlight of that night during SABATON’s set was bassist Pär Sundström lead a whole venue of Metal heads into a sing song along to Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. The whistling then lead into one of their new anthems “To Hell And Back” where lots of bouncing took place.  As well as those songs the setlist contained a number of the fan’s favourites including “Resist And Bite”, “Carolus Rex”, “The Art Of War” and of course not forgetting “Swedish Pagans”. They ended gallantly on “Primo Victoria” and “Metal Crüe”.

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This night was one big Metal party, a place where people can enjoy themselves and smile about it. Fans are still buzzing about the show days later, it was the ultimate metal party people didn’t want to leave. If they ever tour together again be sure to catch them, you won’t regret it.

Words:  Lotty Whittingham  Photography:  Tomasz Wrobel

For the full photo galleries of each band click on the links below.

Sabaton Full Gallery

Alestorm Full Gallery

Bloodbound Full Gallery

Live Report: Devilskin, Skarlett Riot and Voodoo Vegas @ The Talking Heads, Southampton 28.02.2016

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The new and updated version of The Talking Heads, Southampton has only been open a couple of weeks and the benefits are already evident; it’s in a more central location, there’s a more comfortable vibe and the sound system is simply fantastic. It played host to some of the most top notch upcoming Hard Rock acts. Headlining this fantastic evening were New Zealand quartet DEVILSKIN, their support came in the form of Scunthorpe Rockers SKARLETT RIOT and Bournemouth quintet VOODOO VEGAS.

First to open up the night were VOODOO VEGAS; the first thing that hits you is their hard hitting riffs and excellent beats that give the excellent rhythm, this statement was reinforced by the headbanging and foot tapping. It was clear throughout their set who was in control, vocalist Lawrence Case had the crowds eating out the palms of his hands. For a first band that is an impressive feat to achieve so it was evident they were the perfect choice to open the night of Hard Rock festivities.

Since their formation in 2010 it’s safe to say SKARLETT RIOT have made a huge impact. Having wowed audiences with their confidence and strong sound containing powerful riffs, blending melodies, infectious hooks and bags of attitude. Their performance in Southampton was no exception, like VOODOO VEGAS they had the crowds under their command from getting them to sing along to their tunes and to head bang. With their infectious energy and passion it’s evident they walked away with new fans.

Their first UK tour and first time in Southampton; they had flown all the way from New Zealand to give Southampton’s crowd a show they won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It was clear the Brits had been waiting for this Kiwi band to hit their stages, as the moment the opening beats of “Elvis Presley Circle Pit” were heard the crowd were under their control. Headbanging, dancing and fist pumping were what could be seen across the venue.  They only have one album in their discography but this didn’t mean they couldn’t deliver a killer setlist; it had something for everyone. From the empowering “Start A Revolution” and sweeping new single “Mountains” to the cheeky “Dirt” and beautiful ballad “Fade”, the crowd were clearly more than satisfied.

On record vocalist Jennie Skulander showcases stunning vocal talent, whether she is hitting those notes perfectly or aggressive death growls. There was certainly a lot more power and vivacity within her live performance.

The set ended on a more than positive note with “Little Pills”. From that set it’s clear they will be more than welcome in Southampton.

Live Report: New Device, One Last Run, Saints Of Sin, Mother Of Pearl @ The Firehouse, Southampton 20.12.2016

 

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Shows at The Firehouse tend to be a hit and miss with crowds, however the good news is whether there is a small crowd of 10 or The Firehouse is packed this doesn’t stop the bands giving punters the best show they can give to them. Saturday evening showcased a solid night of Hard Rock headlined by London Hard Rock quartet NEW DEVICE and the main support was Manchester Hard Rockers ONE LAST RUN. Local support came in the form of SAINTS OF SIN and MOTHER OF PEARL.

There was excitement and anticipation within the venue as bands loaded in their gear, punters bought their drinks at the bar including the signature Dirty Vimto and meeting with friends. They also secured a spot ready to watch the night of entertainment that was to be bestowed upon Southampton’s hotspot for the rock and metal community.

Southampton born MOTHER OF PEARL are fairly new to the scene and they are making a solid mark within the Southampton community.  They provided a more Alternative Rock vibe to the show giving it a solid package regarding the line up. Their sound provided a strong reminder of Alternative Rock pioneers such as ALICE IN CHAINS, NIRVANA and PEARL JAM, there is also a hint of the modern greats such as SEETHER. Their live show provided a chilled out yet lively ambience to The Firehouse, a great way to kick off the evening.

Boundless energy, top quality music, a lot of hair and a bright orange Jack Daniels t-shirt. All of these were seen and heard within the set from local support SAINTS OF SIN. Their Hair Metal antics and sounds provided nostalgia from the 80s; the strong melodies, the impeccable vocal work and their charisma went down a treat with the punters. Their infectious energy and passion spread out through the crowd. They look good, they sound good and they are not ones to miss.

There was a lot of dominance and enthusiasm within ONE LAST RUN’s set. The first thing that sends shivers down the spine is the beautiful, strong vocal work that gives a sirenesque effect that packs a punch. Their set consisted of some brilliant melodies made up of blistering riffs, pounding bass and thunderous drums. Their cover of ALTER BRIDGE’s “Come To Life” was a particular highlight of their set. They proved to be the perfect main support for the tour.

London Hard Rockers NEW DEVICE have been on the scene for a while now; with a support slot with Hard Rock giants BON JOVI, three releases and a dominant live presence they are not ones to miss. NEW DEVICE performed a flawless set with lots of liveliness and a crisp clear sound which bought a stadium like atmosphere to a small venue. Their setlist consisted of a varied collection of material from across their discography including the dominant anthems “Takin’ Over”, “Here We Stand”, “Save Your Life” and brand new fist pumping single “Hollywood Radio” where ONE LAST RUN vocalist Becky Roberts joined the ranks. There were also some back catalogue favourites including “On Your Knees”, “Until The End” and “Make My Day”.

Advice? If this line up ever play at a local venue near you, go and watch the Hard Rock chaos before these bands start playing at bigger venues. There is no doubt they will.

Live Report: Clutch, Bombus, Greenleaf @ 02 Academy, Brixton 12.12.2015

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Wherever you may go there is always a safe haven for those who feel alone and isolated; in these places of sanctuary you feel a sense of community and enjoy the worship everyone around enjoys just as much as yourself. This case applied to when Maryland Hard Rock quartet CLUTCH took control of Brixton’s 02 Academy in London town; from the moment you entered the building there was a sense of sanctuary and a sense of belonging. Alongside Swedish Upcoming talents BOMBUS and GREENLEAF there was nothing stopping them.

There was a venue change in the week, it was originally due to showcase at 02 Shepard’s Bush Empire but due to structural problems it was moved to Brixton. In some ways was better as the venue was bigger meaning more ticket sales for the bands and for someone travelling from outside London it was a little easier to set out to.

Swedish born GREENLEAF were the first band to kick off the proceedings; their Hard Stoner Rock seemed to be winning over the crowds coming into the venue to fill up the gaps in the early stages of the show. Their show encouraged a lot of appreciation from the crowds with some head nodding and foot tapping here and there. Their hard hitting yet extremely serene melodies were a great way to start the evening.

 

Fellow Swedish Heavy Metal outfit BOMBUS provided a grand, sweeping ambience to the evening, their sound reminding one of fellow Swedes GRAND MAGUS. The all-encompassing melodies consisting of the blistering guitar work and the pounding drums seemed to win over their audiences considering since the majority of the audience might have been used to a more, laid back tone from the headliners CLUTCH who BOMBUS definitely got the crowds warmed up for.

CLUTCH are just one of those bands that doesn’t need an introduction in the Rock and Metal community. The anticipation in the air was clear before they took to the stage especially when the front of house dimmed the lights when nothing was about to happen, this teased the crowds greatly.

The moment CLUTCH took to the stage the welcoming reception was more than overwhelming; they were in control that night and this was evident from the crowd’s hanging onto the vocalist Neil Fallon’s every word. Remember the mention of sanctuary and togetherness? There was certainly that sort of vibe during CLUTCH’s set, this might sound weird but it felt like being a part of one of those gospel churches that uplifts you through the power of music.

CLUTCH wowed the audiences with their incredible live sound and their selection of songs from across their discography. This tour was promoting their latest album “Psychic Warfare” and they showcased some of the best of the record from the funky sounding “A Quick Death In Texas” to the flowing “Lady Of Electric Light”. With the new material in the air it was relieving to hear some of the classics such as “The Mob Goes Wild” and “Soapmakers”; these were very well received, it was clear these were some of the tracks fans wanted to hear their idols play.

The night ended on a more than positive note with the encore showcasing “DC Sound” and “Earthrocker”. CLUTCH are a band that every rocker and metalhead needs to watch live, it is honestly one of the most uplifting experiences.

Live Report: Wretched Soul @ The Firehouse, Southampton 21.11.2015

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Local gigs at small venues in your home town can often be hits and misses when it comes to crowd size; however the beautiful thing about the underground metal scene is the audience will go crazy for the bands no matter how small the crowd is. Saturday night’s show at The Firehouse, Southampton proved this theory correct as they played host to rising Death/Thrash quartet WRETCHED SOUL where they showcased a top class live performance along with equally brutal and loud allies KING LEVITHAN, CAIRISS and TO OBEY A TYRANT.

It was great to see two hours before the show The Firehouse was already filled with punters either getting their first drink on a Saturday night to get in from the cold, crisp wind as bands were loading in gear and settling in. It was a relief to see the same punters stayed in to experience a night of full on quality metal.

The first band to kick off the proceedings were Bournemouth Deathcore outfit TO OBEY A TYRANT; musically there is definitely a lot of potential within their sound that will definitely ensure a growth in their fan base. There were a few nods from the crowd as the music blared throughout The Firehouse and people definitely showed appreciation for their passionate, energetic performance. Whether it was still early on in the evening or whether more crowds were coming in from the icy cold weather, it didn’t spark a crazy atmosphere as expected but overall not a bad performance from the group.

Southampton based CAIRISS were up next to show The Firehouse what they were made of; it was their first ever show and there was already a huge crowd so understandably nerves and anticipation was in the air. They needn’t have worried; the first sombre tones from the guitars and soft drum patterns gave off an OPETH type vibe where it’s completely relaxing but at the same time mesmerising. We then hear beautiful, angelic vocals from lead singer Freya-Jane Brown that are almost hypnotic mixed wonderfully with the suddenly Black Metal-esque blistering guitars and roaring drums. Something that wasn’t expected was the high pitch screams from this exceptionally talented vocalist; a woman in metal who can sing like an angel and scream like a banshee perfectly certainly deserves a lot of respect and recognition. For their first show it was a fantastic showcasing of local metal, just goes to show you remarkable talent can be found on your doorstep.

The cult of KING LEVIATHAN have been an ever growing presence in the metal community ever since their formation last year; with a performance at this year’s Bloodstock under their belts and impending appearances at some of underground’s hottest festivals such as Thrashasaurus to say they are doing well for themselves would be a huge understatement. If Saturday night’s show is anything to go by you can probably see why this is. Their stage attire consisting of battle clothes and war paint is enough to cause wonder and anticipation. From the moment the first blistering guitar riff and deafening vocals from “Wormwood” are heard its clear the cult of LEVIATHAN are in control of their cult of metal worshippers.  The mighty LEVIATHAN proved to be the perfect choice for main support as if the vast amount of head banging and fist pumping going on in the crowds doesn’t say this who knows what will. They did a whole lot more than get the crowds warm and pumped up ready for headliners WRETCHED SOUL.

Hailing from Canterbury, a new breeding ground for Metal in the UK, WRETCHED SOUL have gained a solid fan base over the past few years through their Blackened Heavy Metal. They proved their website claim of “fast-gaining a national reputation for their intense and genuinely engaging live shows” absolutely spot on Saturday night through a live show that tore the roof off The Firehouse. From the first opening notes of the thunderous “Bury The Hectic” to the marching beats of “Undying War” it was clearly evident who was in control of that venue Saturday night; those who witnessed this fantastic dominance would know that the crowd were punching the air and shouting at vocalistsChris Simmon’s command that can definitely be perceived as clear authority.

WRETCHED SOUL had the crowds engaged from the word go; their infectious energy, finger bleeding guitar work, prevailing vocals and a passionate stage presence tick all the boxes for a top notch live show. It was their first time performing in Southampton and judging from the attentive response of Southampton’s metal heads it most definitely won’t be their last live show in Southampton either.

It certainly a night Southampton’s metal heads will not be forgetting anytime soon; each and every band gave an extremely passionate performance to an extremely attentive crowd throughout. It’s reassuring to know the underground metal scene is alive and kicking, nothing will beat it.